No More Asperger’s Syndrome?

In 2012, there may be no more Asperger's Syndrome. No, I'm not talking about some sort of 2012 doomsday prophecy or suggesting that there will be some sort of cure for this particular Autism Spectrum condition. According to a proposal from the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the Asperger's diagnosis, along with another "form" of Autism, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) will be removed from the next edition of their diagnostic manual, the DSM.

Do Children with Autism Lack an Ability to Imitate?

Almost every Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program for a young child with Autism that I have seen includes a program for teaching "imitation" skills. The rationale behind these programs seems to be that children with Autism lack the ability to imitate others. But is this a true assumption?

Wolves vs. Foxes: Are Children with Autism Listening in Class?

One of the early indicators of an Autism Spectrum Disorder is a lack of traditional response to sounds and language, such as a child not responding to his name being called or not attending when being spoken to. However, does that mean that children with Autism are not listening and understanding what we say? Many people hold this erroneous belief, even to the point where they speak negatively about children with Autism right in front of them.  

Misbehavior or Misunderstanding?

Some children with Autism exhibit what many people consider to be "challenging" or "inappropriate" behaviors. I have worked with students who frequently scream, hit, bite, and kick. While it may seem that these behaviors are random or uncontrollable, I have found that in most cases, behavior is communication.

Accommodations Help Us All

The things we do to help people with disabilities are often helpful for everyone. 

Why We Don't Need More Autism Awareness

April marked Autism Awareness Month in the United States, and as the month closes, I've been reflecting on the topic. Autism is a hot topic in the news in recent months. I think that the media is often doing a great job in providing us with stories and information about Autism. However, many of these headlines focus on the gloom and doom of this "devastating" disorder. These stories play an important role in raising awareness, but there is another side to Autism. 

Should Students with Autism Be Held Accountable for Their Behavior?

According to media reports, police recently shot (with a taser), a 12-year-old boy with Autism when he assaulted school personnel. I recently read a letter to the editor in response to this story. The author of this letter, while not condoning the incident, seemed to think that students with autism should be held accountable for their behavior in the same manner as other students and that treating them differently was enabling their challenging behavior. He's exactly right. And wrong. 

College for the Student with Autism

I recently corresponded with James Williams, a college student and Elementary/Special Education major. James is the president of the Council for Exceptional Children at his university, a member of the Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society, and a member of his university’s Dean’s List. He also has Asperger’s Syndrome. James shared with me some strategies, resources, and tips to help students with Autism prepare for college and independent living.

Classroom Reality TV? Teacher Votes Out Child with Autism

The Autism community has been buzzing this week about a Kindergarten teacher who held a class vote to decide whether a child, who was in the process of being evaluated for an Autism Spectrum Disorder, should be voted out of the class. Was this an example of emotional abuse or a valid teaching strategy?

Intelligence Testing and Autism

Children with autism are frequently diagnosed with mental retardation based on results from common IQ tests. But are these results always accurate?

Welcome to Positively Autism!

 Why should we be positive about Autism? As a special education teacher, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to teach many students with autism. During the course of my career, and my graduate studies in autism, I have encountered many articles, books, and news reports that portray autism in a very negative light. Having seen the unique personalities, sheer determination, and of course, great potential in my students...